BOSTON (AP) – An early morning fire in Boston’s Dorchester neighborhood quickly enveloped a three-story building, sending 16 residents to the hospital after flames broke out on the first floor.

“The first arriving companies were screaming, ‘We need help here in a hurry,”‘ said Lt. Richard Powers.

Four children were among the injured. Four people, including one child, were in serious condition, Powers said. In addition, one firefighter had a shoulder injury.

The first firefighters arriving at the Melbourne Street building just before 5 a.m. found all three floors on fire, and frightened residents at the windows. It took 135 firefighters to knock down the seven-alarm blaze, which jumped to a neighboring home and melted the vinyl siding from the side of another, Powers said. It took about an hour and a half to control the fire, Powers said. He said the fire started on the first floor porch, and that the building had fire alarms. The blaze, which caused an estimated $475,000 damage to the three buildings, is under investigation, Powers said.

During the fire, some residents on a third floor porch had to be led to safety down the stairs. Powers said an infant was tossed from a third story window into a rescuer’s arms. The baby was one of five children in the building ranging in age from seven months to 10 years.

After the fire was put down, firefighters with sooty faces roamed through the blackened husk of the building, tossing debris through the windows, including a teddy bear thrown into the building’s front yard.

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